A Princeton University study found that people judge others within one tenth of a second of meeting them…
How long do you think it takes them to get a first impression of your listing?
The answer of course, is not very long. That’s why curb appeal, how your listing looks from the perspective of a passerby, is crucial to successful property marketing.
In order to help agents from all walks of life get the most bang for their curb appeal buck we put together this list of the best curb appeal ideas for every budget.
Curb Appeal Ideas for $100—$500
While many homeowners get the idea that investing in their home’s curb appeal can help it sell faster and for more money, not everyone will get it. Some homeowners might want to just do the bare minimum, or might not have enough cash on hand to invest in larger scale projects.
If you’re working rentals, small landlords and management companies might balk at the idea of spending any money at all.
That means many agents have to make do with less. In order to see that you don’t need to spend $10,000 to have a dramatic affect on your listings curb appeal, here are a few upgrades you can do for $100 or less.
1. Upgrade Dated Door Hardware
Since the hardware is the focal point of most doors, cheap hardware will make even the nicest door look cheap. That means paying attention to the knocker, handles, peephole or other door hardware can help spruce up the door and improve your client’s first impressions.
If you or your contractor have a bit of DIY knowledge, you may even be able to go with vintage hardware to complement an historic home.
2. Paint The Front Door
Color is another crucial design element for your entryway. A dirty, dull, beige front door looks univiting and drab. A bright yellow door like the one above is energizing, friendly, and welcoming. To get a sense of what color will work best with your listing, check out what the neighbors are doing or spend some time looking for inspiration on Pinterest.
3. Upgrade Porch Lighting Fixtures
After you’ve spruced up the front door, the next logical area to improve is the lighting. Even during the day, the right lighting fixtures can dramatically change the look and feel of your entryway.
They’re also surprisingly easy to install. In most cases, you just need to turn off the electricity, remove the old fixture, wire up the new one, and screw it to the wall. Then, voila, you have a lovely new element for your entry and more dramatic lighting at for dusk/evening showings.
4. Create Seating Area on Porch
Whether the porch is open, covered, or enclosed, many homeowners either ignore or use their front porches for storage. This is a huge mistake as front porches make a perfect place for a relaxing seating or even dining area.
This can be as easy as moving some furniture from the back deck to the front, or you can go all out and look for a second hand table, chairs, or other comfy porch furniture.
4. Add Potted Plants, Flowers, or Small Trees
Potted plants are a great way to spruce up an entryway, stoop, or porch quickly, cheaply, and easily. All you need to do is move or purchase plants that will complement your entryway. In the image above, the homeowner chose interesting looking cacti in order to bring even more drama to an already dramatic entryway.
Having a green entryway is especially important for improving your curb appeal in the summertime. If you’re looking for summer specific tips, check out this great guide from our friends over at Fortune Builders.
6. Buy a New Doormat
Don’t forget the doormat! A fresh, new, doormat will make guests feel more welcome, as well as give them an opportunity to wipe their feet on rainy or snowy days. While this might not make a massive difference, together with some of the other curb appeal ideas on this page, a nice new doormat will make a nice addition to your entryway.
7. Paint Window and Door Trim
With a paintbrush, some enamel paint, and a dropcloth, you can add some contrast and panache to your entryway by painting the trim on the doors and windows. Just remember that the taping and prep will always take longer than the painting, so be prepared to spend a bit more for labor for painting intricate trim or picture frame windows.
8. Add Some Birdhouses or Bird Feeders
In addition to looking cute, birdhouses and bird feeders have the added bonus of attracting birds. Imagine you’re on the edge with a buyer and as your taking a hummingbird stops by for a quick snack, or a bluebird stops in for a drink…
9. Paint or Restain/Seal The Porch
Painting or restaining/sealing the front porch can also add a lot of curb appeal to your listing. Just remember to choose colors carefully. It helps to plan out the color theme for your door, trim, siding, and porch all at once before you start painting. A fresh coat of paint will also help hide imperfections in the wood.
10. Paint shutters
Shutters, even if they’re just decorative, are a great way to add contrast to the front of your listing. If the paint is worn or no longer works with your color scheme, sprucing them up can be a quick, easy way to make a big improvement to your curb appeal.
11. Add an Instant Touch of Color With Potted Flowers
Since you probably won’t have a planting season to get your homeowner’s listing ready to show, potted flowers are a cheap and easy way to get the same effect quickly. You can also be creative with different kinds of pots, or even use baskets or woven bags like the example above.
12. Add new house numbers
Once of the cheapest ideas on the list, new house numbers make a great improvement because it’s generally the first thing people see who are hunting for your address! If also shows that you pay attention to detail, which can only boost their confidence!
13. Trim overgrown bushes and trees
Unless you’re going for a Grey Gardens look, trimming hedges, bushes and trees is a must when trying to get top dollar for your listing. Even better, this is generally something your homeowner can do themselves or with the help of a local gardner.
You can also trim away branches from trees and overgrown bushes that block windows. This will help get more light to the interior which is always a good thing!
14. Replace the Mailbox
Since they’re right out front and often have the house number on them, mailboxes are an easy fix to help improve curb appeal. You also don’t have to replace the whole thing. Sometimes you can just replace the box itself instead of the entire post.
Curb Appeal Ideas for $500 — $1500
A bit more expensive, these ideas are for homes that with high listing prices or homes that need a little extra something to get to market price.
15. Add a Porch Swing
Who doesn’t love a porch swing? This one will work like a charm for urban exiles or retirees looking for a slice of the good life! Add some windchimes, a small table with lemonade, and you’ll have them daydreaming about lazy summer Sundays on their front porch in no time flat.
16. Reseal or Replace Gravel in driveway
Because it’s purely functional, many people overlook just how much front yard space a driveway actually takes up. If it’s in poor condition, that certainly doesn’t bode well for the rest of the house. A quick reseal or gravel delivery can reassure passerby that your listing is well maintained and read to move into!
17. Power Washing
Sometime you don’t know how grimy your stoop or patios are until you drag out the power washer. Who knows, you may discover beautiful granite pavers or perfect condition cobblestones after a quick power washing.
18. Cover up Concrete with Natural Slate Tiles
Although replacing pavers can be prohibitively expensive, you may be surprised to learn that earthy, unique natural slate tiles are actually surprisingly affordable. 12×12 tiles can be had for less than $2 per square foot at home depot.
You can go all out and professionally replace a walkway like this example, or just use them to create a garden pathway that looks a little nicer than cheap concrete pavers.
19. Make or Buy Window Shutters
If your listing doesn’t already have shutters, you can have them buy premade ones or build new ones with a contractor for less than you might expect. Even though they’ll be purely decorative, they’re a great way to break up the monotony of the exterior of a home. I wish more builders would add them.
20. Create a Front Yard Seating or Gardening Area
If you have a large enough front yard, why not carve out a little seating or gardening area? You do it on the cheap with say, a bird bath, some nicer chairs, and a small table.
21. Small garden around mailbox
Replacing the mailbox is great, but if you truly want to impress your potential clients, pay special attention to the plantings around the mailbox. Just make sure they’re local and seasonally appropriate.
22. Install Window Boxes
Nothing says homey and cute like some window boxes overflowing with bright happy flowers. While they’re not super difficult to build or install, if you’re going custom it’s probably a good idea to hire a pro. After all, you’re dealing with moisture, weight, and possibly animal life on your window sills!
23. Decorate The Entry With Potted Plants or Trees
If you’re not lucky enough to have a listing with a shady entryway, you can always head out to your local home center and buy some cool looking potted plants or small trees to bring some gravitas to your listing’s entryway.
24. Fence in Garbage Cans or Central AC Unit
There’s nothing worse than looking at someone else’s garbage… Of course we hope you’ll convince your homeowner to not leave garbage out, but what about the garbage cans? What about that big ugly AC unit?
Instead of leaving it to chance, some cheap vinyl fencing pieces can cover up unsightly garbage cans or AC units in a matter of minutes. As an added bonus, fences are one of the easiest ways to add value to a home.
Curb Appeal ideas for $1500— $10,000
Sometimes a listing needs more help than most to sell where you need it to. It’s either old and crumbling in a neighborhood full of fresh new construction, or it’s pricey enough where home buyers expect nothing less.
Just remember to have a frank discussion with your homeowner that recouping expenses here may be tricky. In some cases you can increase prices a bit to cover the difference,or if you play your cards right and do an amazing job you may find yourself with a bidding war on your hands.
25. Paint The Home’s Exterior
Nothing can change the way a home feels from the street more dramatically than fresh coat of paint! Just imagine the home above painted brown or grey… The only problem here is working with your homeowner to choose color that will sell instead of repel.
Amazingly, Zillow actually has you covered! According to their research of more than 32,000 sold homes, they found that homes with an exterior painted “greige” sold for $3,496 more than homes that were painted medium brown or with tan stucco.
Speaking of Zillow, did you know that buyer’s agents can swipe your leads if you’re not a Premier Agent? If you want to get the leads you deserve for your listing click below to visit Zillow to find out how.
26. Replace Front Door & Sidelights
If you need to make a big change, a new door and sidelights can’t be beat. You’ll not only have a fresh new look to your home’s main focal point, but can increased the light in your entryway indoors as well. That’s a win/win in my book.
27. Replace Roof
One of the banes of a homeowner’s existence are their roofs. They’re expensive to maintain, expensive to replace, and a bad roof can lead to even more expensive water damage if left alone. That’s why roof replacement can actually have a pretty decent ROI for your homeowner and help the listing sell faster.
28. Repoint Bricks for Brick or Cobblestone Driveway or Patio
If you’re lucky enough to have a listing with a brick of cobblestone driveway or front patio, then you should make sure it looks great for your showings. A quick repointing and power washing can make even the tattiest old bricks look brand new.
29. Replace Outdated Siding
Siding is like fashion. For some reason it starts to look dated quicker than your iPhone. In order to show your clients a tasteful front, replacing the siding can have a huge impact on how the home looks.
Even better, some brick homes in cities got covered up with nasty vinyl siding in the 1980’s. If you have a listing like this, tearing it off and repointing the brick can put your listing in another price point!
30. Rebuild Fences & Gates
Tumble down fences and crooked gates are a sign of only one thing for your clients. Decay. To prove your listing is a fresh, vibrant place to live and raise a family, replacing broken fence posts and gates is a must.
Curb Appeal Ideas With Best Overall ROI
Unless you have a very rare and sought after property, the odds of profiting from your curb appeal projects are low. Construction costs are high, material costs are high, and in many markets homes are priced very similarly.
While some markets might allow large price increases from minor repairs and aesthetic improvements, investing money in curb appeal can be a gamble.
In order to reduce your risk, you might want to stick to the curb appeal idea that have a proven ROI. Here are the three curb appeal ideas with the best ROI according to a recent study by Remodeling.com.
31.Manufactured Stone Veneer
Manufactured stone veneer is one of the most popular and cost effective ways to make your listing look far more expensive than it is. Using thin slices of natural rock or molded cement, stone veneers mimic the look and feel of extremely expensive stone or brick construction.
The idea here is not to fool your home inspector or contractor, but to give your listing a luxurious appearance at a fraction of the cost of traditional construction techniques.
Stone veneer is also very versatile. It can be used to add gravitas to a traditional home like the one above, or used on accent walls, stair treads, or even concrete retaining walls.
While stone veneer projects can vary from covering an entire home to just the columns on a front porch, the study ranked it as having the best return on investment of any curb appeal project at 97.1%.
32. Garage Door Replacement
According to Heather Meiner, Brand Manager for Overhead Door, on average, homeowners nationwide can obtain up to a 98 percent return on investment for their garage door replacements.
While Heather may be biased, the data from the remodeling.com study actually backs up her claim. In fact, they named garage door replacement as the curb appeal project that has the highest ROI nationwide at a whopping 98.3% at a relatively affordable cost of around $3500.
This won’t come as much of a shock when you see before and after photos like the one above. Unlike stone veneer, a replacement garage door also adds functionality and light to your garage.
The difference a high end looking garage door can make on your listing’s curb appeal can’t be overstated. Here’s another before and after pic from Overhead Garage Door:
What do You Think?
Have a great curb appeal idea we missed or a fun story about getting a better price for a listing you improved the curb appeal on? Let us know in the comments.